PITTSTON — A former selectman took issue with the Board of Selectmen’s Wednesday decision to bill him and the other former board members for outstanding legal fees, saying the board members should sue him if they think he owes the town money.

“Don’t bluff me and try to make me look bad in public,” former Selectman Tim Marks said on Thursday. “Let’s go before a judge and see where it goes. I’m pretty confident in my position.”

The majority of the more than $8,000 in legal fees were incurred consulting with lawyers before the former board’s March decision to dismiss the longtime town clerk, and during the subsequent petition effort by residents to recall the three-member board and two town employees.

Selectwoman Vicki Kelley said the board only had permission to spend $3,000 between January and March, because an article in every Town Meeting warrant gives the board permission to spend a third of each budget item.

Kelley and Selectwoman Jean Ambrose voted to send a bill to the three former select board members, Marks, Wanda Burns-Macomber and Ted Sparrow Jr.

“I think we ought to send a bill,” Ambrose said at the meeting. “It does send a statement.”

Chairwoman Jane Hubert wasn’t at the meeting. She didn’t respond to a phone call for comment on Thursday.

Kelley told residents at the Wednesday meeting that she doubts the former selectmen will pay anything.

“I don’t appreciate being bluffed like that,” Marks said. “Don’t threaten me. They’re sending a bill out that they know they can’t collect. How foolish is that?”

Marks, a Democratic state representative, said the select board members should sue the former selectmen if they think the town is owed money.

But Kelley said they aren’t planning to sue.

When asked by a resident at the meeting if the effort would cost the town more money, Kelley assured her that the board wouldn’t sue the former selectmen if they don’t pay.

“At this point, I’d say we will not,” Kelley said on Thursday. “That will cost money, but who knows what the townspeople would decide. That’s something they would have to tell us how they feel.”

Kelley said Ambrose consulted with the Maine Municipal Association about the decision to send the letter, but she doesn’t know what was said.

Ambrose didn’t respond to a phone call on Thursday.

The MMA spokesman, Eric Conrad, declined to comment about the specifics of the situation because Pittston is a member of the organization.

“It’s not something we’ve seen come up very often,” he said in an email. “There are times, however, when a new select board or a new selectman will question spending decisions made in the past.”

The board likely won’t draft and send the letter until after Thursday’s special town meeting, Kelley said.
Residents will be asked at next week’s meeting for around $50,000 to restore funding cut at the March Town Meeting and for unexpected expenses.

The warrant also asks residents to use money from the gravel pit and capital improvements account to pay the $8,000 legal bill.

Marks defended the board’s decision to consult with the lawyers as a safeguard against a possible lawsuit in the future.

Burns-Macomber and Sparrow didn’t respond to phone calls for comment.

“When we had this issue with the employee, we needed counsel,” Marks said. “What are you going to do, not spend the money, not get counsel (and) open the whole town up to the litigation?”

The selectmen voted to not reappoint Ann Chadwick at their March 6 meeting because of her “errors, mistakes, and continued and sustained subpar performance,” according to a memo provided to the Kennebec Journal by the town attorney at the time.

Chadwick offered at a March 4 meeting to retire after the March 18 election, but she then refused to provide the selectmen with a retirement letter two days later. She said she needed more time to think about it, according to the memo.

Kelley said she motioned to send the bill because several residents have asked the board to do something about the outstanding fees and suggested billing the former selectmen.

“I’m representing them,” she said. “If they’re asking me to do something within reason, I should be doing it.”

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
[email protected]

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.